Lupe Ontiveros: An Appreciation
Chances are you've seen Lupe Ontiveros in one of her many parts in films and on television. The busy and talented actor died Friday, July 26, of liver cancer, but her impact lives on in the body of work she leaves behind.
Ontiveros worked with all the leading Chicano directors, including Gregory Nava, Jesus Trevino, Luis Valdez, and Cheech Marin, yet her acting career extends far beyond to directors as diverse as Johnny Depp and James L. Brooks. Ontiveros is remembered as the villain in SELENA, a role that led to Ontiveros being hissed at for years by Selena's fans. In AS GOOD AS IT GETS (1997), Jack Nicholson's character is characteristically rude to her. Ontiveros plays Dr. Stone in LIES IN PLAIN SIGHT, by director Patricia Cordoso, who also cast Lupe in the film, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES. In THE GOONIES (1985), she played Rosalita the maid. In CHUCK & BUCK (2000, depicted in the image above with actor and writer Mike White), she plays Beverly, a role she jumped at simply because it didn't have a Latina's name. "I long to play a judge. I long to play a lesbian woman. I long to play a councilman, somebody with some chutzpah," Ontiveros admitted in an interview replayed on NPR after the actress' death, emphasizing her ability as an actor to stretch out.
Lupe Ontiveros had chutzpah. Rest in peace.